A Romantic Musical Comedy



Music by Brendan Milburn+
Lyrics by Val Vigoda*
Orchestrations and Additional Music by Ryan O’Connell+
Book by Joe DiPietro+

Directed by Michael Unger+
Music Directed by Eric Svejcar+

Ernest Shackleton Loves Me is the critically acclaimed new musical comedy with a tongue-in-cheek script by Tony Award-winner Joe DiPietro+ (Diana, Memphis, All Shook Up). In this wildly inventive and romantic adventure, a sleep-deprived single mom who makes her living as a video game music composer is contacted across space and time, via a crossed connection on her cell phone, by the famous early 20th century polar explorer Ernest Shackleton+ while he is stranded on an iceberg in the Antarctic in the early 1900s. Inspired by her music, he shares his epic journey with her and, together, they overcome the odds in a timeless, and very funny, musical romance for the ages. In 2017, Ernest Shackleton Loves Me was named the Best New Musical by the Off Broadway Alliance.

Ernest Shackleton Loves Me runs 90 minutes with no intermission.

Ernest Shackleton Loves Me includes the use of water-based haze, flashing lights and strobing effects, sounds of gunshots and the use of a prop gun. For questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to our Box Office via phone or email.



Learn more about Porchlight Music Theatre’s production of Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, a new romantic musical adventure!

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Based on availability, a select and limited number of Mainstage tickets will be on sale for $25 per ticket the day of select performances. Rush tickets are subject to availability and limited to two per person. All handling fees still apply.

When tickets are available, they may be purchased directly through our box office, either in person or via phone, when we open each day at noon (on Saturdays, Sundays, and select Mondays; box office hours vary). Tickets at 12 discounts cannot be combined with additional offers or applied to previously purchased tickets.

For more information, you can call our box office at (773) 777-9884. Please view our complete box office hours here.


Based on availability, a limited number of student tickets are on sale for our Mainstage shows for $20 per ticket. Tickets are subject to availability and limited to two per student. Students must present a valid student ID when picking up tickets from will call. All handling fees still apply.

When available, tickets may be purchased directly through our box office, either in person or via phone, when we open each day. Student Ticket discounts cannot be combined with additional offers or applied to previously purchased tickets.

For more information about our ticketing options, please call our box office at (773) 777-9884. Please view our complete box office hours here.

Back to 2022 — 23 Season



MICHAEL UNGER+ (Director) is thrilled to make his Porchlight Music Theatre debut with this show. A Chicago native, Unger is a theatre and opera director who is currently the artistic director of Milwaukee’s Skylight Music Theatre where he has directed Dennis DeYoung’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Noises Off, and Little Shop of Horrors. Previously, he was the associate artistic director and director of education of Off-Broadway’s York Theatre Company. For nine years he was the producing artistic director of NewArts in Newtown, CT, a company promoting healing through the arts that he started with a local dad in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Michael has also directed benefit concerts honoring Susan Stroman, André DeShields, Maltby and Shire, Leslie Uggams, as well as for the communities of Sandy Hook, CT and Parkland, FL. He is married to actress Janet Metz and his favorite productions are their twins, Phoebe and Nathaniel.


ERIC SVEJCAR+ (Music Director) is a composer and music director based in New York City. Works include Caligula, An Ancient Glam Epic (NYMF Audience Award winner), A Rockin’ Midsummer Night’s Dream (featured in the documentary Midsummer In Newtown), The Murder of Isaac, White Noise, and the musical podcast Loveville High with David Zellnik. He adapted and arranged Disney’s Peter Pan Jr. which has been performed by thousands of schools around the world. On Broadway, he conducted the Roundabout/Deaf West revival of Big River and played in the pits of The Little Mermaid and A Chorus Line (City Center). Off-Broadway he arranged and performed in the Zipper Theatre revival of Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living In Paris, orchestrated Evil Dead, The Musical, and music directed several productions at the York Theatre including Marry Harry and the Musicals In Mufti presentations of Big, Berlin To Broadway With Kurt Weill, and Jerry’s Girls. He was a solo pianist with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and played piano and sang backup for Debbie Gibson at Harrah’s in Atlantic City. Originally from Chicago, he has done shows at Bailiwick, Northlight, The New Colony and many others and was the front room pianist/singer at Davenport’s Piano Bar and the late Gentry on Halsted. Graduate of the Indiana University School of Music.

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Porchlight Music Theatre debut

Elisa Carlson is a 20-year veteran in the solo and dueling piano bar industry, singing and playing piano, violin, drums and bass all across the United States,, internationally, and on cruise ships.  A graduate of Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Elisa enjoys bringing her skills to Chicago theater stages as well. Chicago credits include: Once (Writers Theatre and Paramount Theatre), Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (American Blues Theater), Peter and the Starcatcher (Metropolis Performing Arts Center), One Man, Two Guvnors (Court Theatre), Pop Waits (Neo-Futurists) and American Idiot (The Hypocrites).  Elisa is also a choreographer for young performers and will be choreographing Matilda Jr. with GingerSnap Performing Arts this summer.  @ElisaCarlsonMusic


ANDREW MUELLER+ (Ernest Shackleton)
Porchlight Music Theatre Debut

Andrew Mueller is embarking upon his Porchlight debut (after having done various concerts, benefits, readings, etc.) Notable Chicago productions include: Peter in Jesus Christ Superstar (Lyric Opera), Mark in RENT (Paramount), Man of La Mancha (Marriott Lincolnshire), Shakespeare In Love (Chicago Shakespeare), Almost Heaven: John Denver’s America (Theatre At The Center), A Christmas Carol (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure (Chicago Children’s Theater). Jeff Award for Huck Finn in Big River (BoHo Theatre Ensemble). Off-Broadway: Prentiss in Peter And The Starcatcher (New World Stages), Alice By Heart (MCC). Regional: My Paris (Long Wharf), Some Lovers (Old Globe & Adirondack Theatre Festival), Baskerville (Cardinal Stage). You can catch him performing with his band, The Red Roses, in and around Chicago.


MATT MILES+ (Ernest Shackleton Standby)
Porchlight Music Theatre Debut

Chicago credits: Steppenwolf, Collaboraction, Mercury Theater, Drury Lane, Route 66, Griffin Theatre.  Regional: Jim Henson Productions. Film/TV: Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Chicago Rot. “Immense thank you’s to Michael Unger, Frankie and the entire Big Mouth Talent Fam. Endless gratitude and love to Agnes.” For Dad and OG Ernest Shackleton. Thank you for your endurance and for sailing on – no matter the obstacles.


RAE ROBESON* (Kat Standby)
Porchlight Music Theatre Debut

Porchlight debut! Proud Nashville, TN native and Middle TN State University graduate. Chicago: White Christmas (Music Theater Works), Olive Ostrovsky” in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Three Brothers), “Hope Cladwell” in Urinetown (Beverly TG) and the GirlForward Cabaret (Artists Giving Back). Regional: Oklahoma, The Taffetas, Sister Act, American Idiot. Rae also performs around the country in Tony & Tina’s Wedding (Corcoran Productions). Love and gratitude to Zach, Winston, and family for constant love and support.

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